Chris Arnott’s Engine 31 Review: O Guru Guru

 

Rebecca Hart in O Guru Guru Guru. Photo courtesy of Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Rebecca Hart in O Guru Guru Guru. Photo courtesy of Actors Theatre of Louisville.

 

Some theaters aspire to be as comfortable as a living room. Will you settle for a yoga studio?
When you enter the Victor Jory Theater on the second floor of the Actors Theatre of Louisville complex, the audience is asked to hang their coats on racks, which are wheeled into a side area before the show begins. The floor of the venue has been freshly light-blue-carpeted. The evening opens with a short oral presentation, replete with slide projector and screen. You have been given a program: for the talk, not the play. It’s titled Why I Don’t Want to Go to Yoga Class With You–A Lecture.
And that’s about all I really want to tell you. Just when you think this is going to be a tantric female version of Underneath the Lintel, it magically changes form and focus–adding characters, directly engaging the audience and turning the presentation from solo/inward to communal/outward.

O Guru Guru Guru is both calming and full of surprises. It is a single life journey told (quasi-autobiographically, it seems) through personal anecdotes, difficult confessions, mid-life quandaries, ancient legends, yoga ceremonies, shadow puppetry and Hollywood glamor. The play is a cup of herbal tea steeped in reality, trenchant commentary, human dignity and universal spirituality.
As a script, O Guru Guru Guru manages to be cynical and hopeful at the same time. In it, hopes are dashed but then reborn, with inspiration from increasingly unusual avenues.
Shows about disillusionment are common at Humana. Seldom are they so graceful, flexible and freeing.

O Guru Guru Guru or why I don’t want to go to yoga class with you
Through April 7
By Mallery Avidon. Directed by Lila Neuberger. Scenic Designer: Andrew Lieberman. Costume Designer: Asta Bennie Hostetter. Lighting Designer: Brian H. Scott. Sound Designer: Darron L. West. Puppet Designer: Jay Tollefsen. Stage Manager: Sarah Hall. Dramaturg: Sarah Lunnie. Casting: Judy Bowman. Performers: Rebecca Hart, Daphne Gaines, Maya Lawson, Kristin Villanueva, Gisela Chipe and Khrystyne Haje.

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  1. […] O Guru Guru Guru is both calming and full of surprises. … In it, hopes are dashed but then reborn, with inspiration from increasingly unusual avenues. Shows about disillusionment are common at Humana. Seldom are they so graceful, flexible and freeing. – Chris Arnott, Engine 31 […]

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